Brownfield Cleanup Program Goal
The goal of the Brownfield Cleanup Program (BCP) is to encourage private-sector cleanups of brownfields and to promote their redevelopment as a means to revitalize economically blighted communities. The BCP is an alternative to greenfield development and is intended to remove some of the barriers to, and provide tax incentives for, the redevelopment of urban brownfields.
Brownfield sites are any real property where a contaminant is present at levels exceeding the soil cleanup objectives or other health-based or environmental standards, criteria or guidance adopted by DEC that are applicable based on the reasonably anticipated use of the property, except:
- Sites listed as Class 1 or 2 (See Hazardous Waste Site Classification) in the Registry of Inactive Hazardous Waste Disposal Sites where a viable responsible party has been identified;
- Sites on the USEPA National Priorities List (NPL);
- Hazardous waste treatment, storage, or disposal facilities (TSDF's) permitted under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) that are owned by a viable responsible party ("interim status" facilities are eligible);
- Sites subject to a cleanup order under Article 12 of the Navigation Law (oil spill prevention, control, and compensation) or under Title 10 of ECL Article 17 (control of the bulk storage of petroleum); or
- Sites subject to any on-going state or federal enforcement actions regarding solid/hazardous waste or petroleum.
How to Apply
Now Welcoming Electronic Application Submissions
In lieu of submitting via ground mail, follow these instructions to submit BCP applications via email. Ground mail submissions will continue to be accepted following the new submittal instructions. Do NOT submit both via email and via ground mail.
Point of Contact: Prior to applying, applicants should contact the Point of Contact for the DEC region in which the project is located to schedule a pre-application meeting. (See Division of Environmental Remediation Contact Persons and Phone Numbers.)
- Pre-Application Meeting: Complete and submit a pre-application worksheet (PDF, 157 KB) to the Regional Point of Contact before a pre-application meeting, so that any issues that may potentially delay DEC's approval of the application can be identified and resolved.
- BCP Application Form and Instructions - Revision 15 (May 2023) (PDF, 783 KB) : Applicants should review BCP application instructions, complete the form and submit the application to DEC.
- Please see the NEW instructions for submitting an application via email in lieu of ground mail submissions.
- Please refer to the list of common deficiencies in Brownfield Cleanup Program applications prior to submitting your application.
- Program Policy DER-32 (PDF, 102 KB), Brownfield Cleanup Program Applications and Agreements, has been revised to provide guidance on the application process and the general terms and conditions for Brownfield Cleanup Agreements (BCAs). This program policy also provides guidance on the process to amend and terminate a BCA. The procedures in this policy encourage timely participation in the BCP and the cleanup of contaminated real property for reuse and redevelopment. For additional information on the Tangible Property Credits section of the Application, see BCP Tax Credits.
- BCP Application to Amend Brownfield Cleanup Agreement and Amendment (PDF, 503 KB) : To amend an existing Brownfield Cleanup Agreement, applicants should review application instructions, complete the form and submit the application to DEC. For the types of changes that require an amendment see the following:
- Summary of Changes that Require an Amendment to BCA (PDF, 176 KB)
- The Department understands that sites in the BCP that were previously transitioned from the first or second generation of the program through an amendment to a Brownfield Cleanup Agreement (BCA) that expressly states the March 31, 2026 deadline to obtain a certificate of completion will require an additional amendment that reflects the 2022 legislative amendments to the BCP that extended the program to 2036. It is the Department's expectation that most of the sites that entered the program prior to 2015 will be completed before March 31, 2026. For those sites that have not received a COC prior to the March 31, 2026 deadline and are in compliance with all program requirements, a department initiated amendment to the BCA will be sent to the applicant by the Department. This will not likely occur until 2026/2027.
- Please refer to the list of common deficiencies in applications to amend the BCA while preparing the amendment package.
Application Completeness Review
Within 30 days of receiving an application, DEC will use best efforts to determine whether the application is complete or incomplete, and notify the applicant accordingly. During this time frame, DEC will use best efforts to determine whether the application contains sufficient information to determine site eligibility in accordance with 6NYCRR Part 375-3.3, although additional information may be requested during the eligibility review. Please refer to the following documents while preparing the application package:
If the application is determined to be complete, DEC will send a Letter of Complete Application that will include:
- The public notice to be sent to all parties on the brownfield site contact list,
- Instructions for publishing the public notice in the newspaper and for mailing the notice to the brownfield site contact list,
- The deadline for publication of the newspaper notice, which must coincide with, or occur before, the date of publication in the Environmental News Bulletin (ENB), which is published on Wednesdays, and
- A certification of mailing form to be returned to DEC along with proof of publication documentation.
Application Approval / Disapproval
Following the determination of a complete application, DEC will use best efforts to perform an eligibility review and notify the requestor whether the application has been accepted or rejected within 45 days of the completeness determination (60 days if a final investigation report or draft remedial action work plan is included with the application) or 5 days after the close of the public comment period, whichever is later. See BCP Approval and Disapproval.
Brownfield Cleanup Agreement
All parties must sign a Brownfield Cleanup Agreement (BCA), whereby the Applicant makes a commitment to undertake remedial activities under DEC's oversight. The obligations of an Applicant under a BCA depend upon whether the Applicant is accepted into the BCP as either a Volunteer or a Participant (See 6 NYCRR Part 375-3.2) (link leaves DEC). A Volunteer is an applicant who is not liable for disposal of hazardous waste or discharge of petroleum at the site. A Participant is an applicant who was an owner or operator of the site at the time of disposal of hazardous waste or discharge of petroleum at the site, or who otherwise failed to take reasonable care to stop continuing releases or prevent further releases. See Brownfield Cleanup Agreements.
BCP Application Process Flowchart - An illustration of the Brownfield Cleanup Program application process, from pre-application to an executed Brownfield Cleanup Agreement.
Amendments to the Brownfield Cleanup Agreement
See Summary of Changes that Require an Amendment to BCA (PDF, 176 KB).
Many changes that require an amendment to the BCA will require submittal of information in the same format and level of detail as the BCP application. Please consult the amendment application instructions for further details. Note that major changes to the BCA (as determined by the Department) may require submittal of a full BCP application. Please consult the Project Manager to discuss if the requested change may be considered major.
See also: Summary of Deficiencies in Applications to Amend the BCA.
BCP Reporting Requirement
All environmental investigation and cleanup activity must be performed in accordance with Work Plan or design documents approved by DEC. Reports documenting the completion of all work must be submitted to DEC for approval in order to receive a Certificate of Completion. The documents are typically prepared by the Applicant's engineering consultant, and require a certification by either a Qualified Environmental Professional (QEP) or a Professional Engineer (PE) registered in New York State. For more information about the investigation and cleanup guidance, work plan and reporting requirements and certifications, please refer to DER-10/Technical Guidance for Site Investigation and Remediation (PDF, 1.1 MB). Commonly required report and work plan submittals are described on the BCP Work Plan and Report Documents page.
To facilitate the remedial process and enable citizens to participate more fully in decisions that affect their health, the DEC will require opportunities for citizen involvement and will encourage consultation with the public early in the process.
A Citizen Participation Plan which provides details on the citizen participation activities that will occur at several milestones during a BCP project must be submitted within 20 days of the executed Brownfield Cleanup Agreement and must be approved by DEC before any other work plans/reports can be approved. See DER-23 / Citizen Participation Handbook for Remedial Programs (PDF, 479 KB). The handbook provides details of the requirements of the citizen participation program for the BCP. Section 3 of DER-23 addresses the minimum requirements for public notice and comment at the various stages of a BCP project.
- Download the fillable BCP Citizen Participation Plan Template (MS Word) (415 KB);
- Sample BCP Citizen Participation Plan Template (PDF, 196 KB) - non-fillable; use file above.
The selection of remedy is based on the characterization of nature and extent of contamination on the site and qualitative exposure assessment. A Participant in the Brownfield Cleanup Program must evaluate and implement an effective remedy that addresses not only contamination on-site but any contamination that has migrated off-site. A Volunteer in the Brownfield Cleanup Program must evaluate and implement an effective remedy to address the contamination on-site as well as prevent further migration of contamination to off-site properties.
The Remedial Alternatives Analysis Report identifies one or more remedial alternatives and evaluates the effectiveness of each alternative with respect to the remedy selection evaluation criteria as presented in 6 NYCRR Part 375 and DER-10. Remedies in the BCP are selected from four cleanup tracks (See 6 NYCRR Part 375-3.8) (link leaves DEC):
- Track 1 - no restrictions on the use of the property;
- Track 2 - restricted use with generic soil cleanup objectives (SCOs) based on the intended use of the property-residential, restricted residential (single family houses not allowed), commercial, or industrial;
- Track 3 - restricted use with modified SCOs based on the same uses described in track 2 above;
- Track 4 - restricted use with site-specific soil cleanup objectives, where the shallow exposed soils must meet the generic SCOs used for track 2 above.
Once a remedy has been proposed, a fact sheet will be issued noticing the availability of the Remedial Work Plan (Remedial Alternatives Analysis or Remedial Action Work Plan) and presenting the proposed remedy for a 45-day public comment period.
DEC will consider the public comments for final remedy selection, have the applicant revise the plan as necessary, and issue a final Decision Document which describes the selected remedy. The applicant(s) may then design and perform the cleanup action to address the site contamination, with oversight by DEC and the NYS Department of Health.
Certificate of Completion
DEC issues a Certificate of Completion at the completion of a BCP project and upon a determination that the remedial action objectives for the BCP site as defined in the Decision Document have been achieved.
A Certificate of Completion allows the Applicant to receive a limitation of liability to the State of New York which applies to contamination identified by the remedial program.
In addition, a Certificate of Completion makes the Applicant eligible to apply for BCP tax credits. The tax credits for individual sites may vary depending on when the site was accepted into the BCP.